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X-Men Legacy #5 – Review

X-MEN LEGACY #5

By: Simon Spurrier (Writer), Jorge Molina (Artist), Norman Lee & Craig Yeung (Inkers), Rachelle Rosenburg (Colorist), Cory Petit (Letterer)

The Review:  I’ve only just caught up with X-Men Legacy. I picked up each issue as they arrived but they’ve always wound up near the bottom of my ‘To Read’ pile, the terrific Mike Del Mundo covers narrowly persuading me each month to keep it on the Pull List. Having finally sat down with the series, I’m pleased I stuck with it; it’s a mercurial experience, never resting too long in one place or idea but gathering momentum as it travels.

In large part this is down to the broad canvas the story plays out upon, one half-inherited and half-invented by Simon Spurrier. The star of the book – Legion aka David Haller – continues to be the same Omega-level mutant with the splintered personality you’ve always loved/loathed but who now has a cast of over two hundred characters who’ve  taken up residence in his head. Each one represents a different persona and power-set that David can draw on – as long as that persona doesn’t overtake him first. Comic Book Logic dictates that each one will be called upon in Legion’s quest to realise the Xavier family dream. With the action split between the physical and psychic realms it’s kind of like Ben 10 filtered through Grant Morrison; a charming, trippy drama.

This issue actually plays things a bit straighter than most. Still reeling from the unexpected psionic kiss he shared with Blindfold last issue (a kiss which landed her in a coma thanks to Legion’s treacherous subconscious) David sets out to psychically trespass at the Jean Grey School of Higher Learning in order to find out a little bit more about his new admirer. What he finds is pretty dark. Told through a series of well-composed flashbacks we delve through Blindfold’s family history; a fractured home, the manifestation of her powers causing a deep family divide – her and her mother on one side and her absentee father and broken, psychotic brother on the other.  It’s well told (though it does get a little Criminal Minds at times) and has a terrific payoff at the end.

Oh, and Legion has  bent spice and time like it ain’t no thang in order to dump a load of Dire Wraiths on the school lawn; the ensuing battle between alien and X-Men causes a neat distraction for his psionic subterfuge. Choice panels from this backdrop of battle handily crop up among the mind-melding scenes to add some action and dark humour into the mix, and it helps give the book a feeling of being in permanent motion.

As I say, it may lack some of the eccentric exploits of the last few issues but it does look to be setting up a fairly interesting villain to drive the narrative for the immediate future. Plus, having  David walk around his father’s old home provides some good emotional beats.

Two issues in an Jorge Molina is proving to be a real asset to the title. There’s an inventive, off-kilter approach to most of his page layouts and panel composition that perfectly compliments the ethereal and action-driven elements of the story. He also squeezes some admirably creepy moments out of the flashback sequences and anything involving Legion’s young wards, Karusu and Sojobo… though really, if cinema has taught me anything it’s that psychic Japanese 8 year-olds and kiddy twins who hold hands all the time are always bad news. Molina’s style is perhaps a little too slick for a book that largely takes place in the mindscapes of its characters but it’s clean and inviting all the same, and it benefits from inks and colours which render the book capably in tones ranging from the doleful to the hallucinatory.

It might be the benefit of having read all five issues in quick succession but X-Men Legacy is proving to be a pretty good diversion from the team books that make up the bulk of the X-franchise. Like Morbius: The Living VampireLegacy’s fellow oddball Marvel Now title – it lies a little off the beaten path, reminding us that the House of Ideas can still occasionally surprise with decent strong self-contained series amidst the ever-expanding core of densely connected titles.  There’s fun and freedom to be had when working with under-used characters at the outskirts of the Marvel Universe, and Spurrier, Molina and co are making the most of it. It’s that rare exception: this book you should absolutely judge by its covers.

 Grade: B

 - Matt Sargeson

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One Response

  1. Nobody in my comic shop had read this one, but the covers are amazingly attractive. I think this one’s better than half of the others the shop’s staff have recommended. It’s funny how this would end on the bottom of everybody’s stack, but no one seems to be taking notice.

    I myself think this is a very uniquely cool comic. I got pulled in by the characterization, the psychological aspect feels original, and the art, both inside and out, but especially the covers, are also mind-blowing. I got sucked in right from the start.

    Thanks for your paying enough attention to this to review.

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